Top causes of arguments

10 of the most common causes of arguments in couples

by Eharmony Editorial Team - February 23, 2017

Whether it’s them forgetting to reply to a text or you never taking the bins out, almost every couple argues. But what are the 10 most common causes of arguments and how easy is it to resolve them? We investigate  

Arguments between couples are inevitable. They can even be healthy. But nobody wants to be arguing about the same old thing time and time again. So, we set out on a mission to discover the most common pain points that are causing friction between couples in the UK.

Using a combination of site data and external research, eHarmony has found that an impressively high number of couples claim never to fight – almost a quarter of people in relationships, in fact (24%). However, the overwhelming majority do argue, and the causes of these arguments might surprise you.

The causes of arguments

The most common causes of arguments between couples are not listening (47%), saying the wrong thing (34%) and thoughtlessness (29%). The lesson here? Taking the time to listen to your partner and ensuring that your responses are as tactful as possible could save you a lot of heartache!

Day to day concerns also cause friction. Financial worries affect 27% of couples while family issues and children also feature in the top 10. The bedroom can also act as a breeding ground for arguments with 13% of couples squabbling over snoring and 10% experiencing tension around a lack of sex. Partners who are distracted will also tend to have more arguments; working hours cause regular arguments among 10% of those surveyed while the impact of technology (those loved ones who never seem to be off their phone) causes problems in 13% of relationships.

Happily, 50% of Brits agree that arguments are a natural and normal part of relationships. But you may be shocked to learn that the most productive arguments occur between more confrontational people. Our survey showed that these couples typically feel better than the average couple after a fight. Interestingly, the majority of those currently in relationships would describe themselves as argumentative (59%), with women particularly hard on themselves, being much more likely to self-identify as confrontational.

Conflict resolution

‘Conflict can often provide an immediate release of tension, which enables both parties to get their feelings off their chests and feel like they’re being heard,’ agrees eHarmony psychologist Dr. Linda Papadopoulos. ‘Often, once the heat of the moment has passed, they feel closer to one another as a result.’

‘The opposite is true for those with contrasting temperaments,‘  she says. ‘In these cases, arguments between confrontational and passive people will tend to make the aggressor angrier and the more passive person anxious and upset. To combat this, both need to remain aware of how their actions appear to their other half and watch their body language and tone.’

The effect of compatibility

eHarmony expert Dr Taraneh Mojaverian has conducted a wealth of research that demonstrates why compatibility could be the key to successful conflict resolution.

‘We’ve seen that individuals who are more accommodating of other’s opinions and respectful of opposing viewpoints tend to be happier overall. People who score highly on intellectual curiosity, agreeableness and altruism handle conflict the best. ‘

Individuals with high levels of intellectual curiosity can feel more comfortable opening up during arguments, which can lead to better outcomes. Similarly, people who are more agreeable and selfless tend to have more honest and open channels of communication with their loved ones, which can also help smaller arguments get resolved quickly.